Derived from Fiat Centro Stile’s widely applauded Trepiuno concept car first shown at the 2004 Geneva Motorshow, the 3-door Fiat 500’s very short bonnet and minimal front and rear overhangs create an exceptionally compact bodyshell, measuring just 3546mm in length, 1627 mm in width and 1488 mm in height.
The front of the new 500 is designed to combine styling cues of the latest models in the Fiat family with the most distinctive elements of the original 500, the strongest references to the latter being a combination of circular upper headlights, separate, lower, full beam lamp housings and the trademark ‘whisker and logo’ badging derived from the name of the very first Fiat 500, the 1936 Topolino – ‘little mouse’.
The short bonnet and steeply raked, ‘cab forward’ A pillar location belie the 500’s highly compact, front engine FWD format, while the resultant aerodynamic efficiency awards the new Fiat a drag coefficient of just Cd 0.325, promoting exceptional high-speed stability, a marked reduction in wind noise intrusion to the interior, and enhanced fuel economy. Safety has also been an important design consideration, and despite the highly compact nature of the design, the tapered bumper structure and rounded front profile award the new Fiat a high standard of pedestrian protection.
In profile, muscular front and rear wheel arches and crisp door sill detailing highlight the new Fiat’s wide track and reinforce the car’s exceptional dynamic abilities. Aerodynamic, door-mounted mirrors not only further reduce interior wind noise levels, but also emphasise the 500’s tapering waistline, which, allied to a blacked out B pillar and seamless roofline, reinforces the smoothly integrated look of the design.
At the rear, a large, chrome plated tailgate handle recalls the ‘bicycle saddle’ motif of the original 500’s registration plate light holder. Large, high visibility tail light clusters flank a practical, top-hinged tailgate – with an integral roof spoiler and third stop light – which offers full-width access to the loadspace across a low-silled aperture. The new Fiat’s broad, purposeful rear stance is further strengthened by an integral lower bumper housing a full width nudge bar.
Augmented by a range of seven alloy wheel and two wheel trim designs; a choice of eight sticker kits which combined with body colours yield 19 possible personalisations; and 10 different badges combining to offer a wide variety of custom finishes themed on the chequered flag, monochrome stripes, a barcode, and even the Italian flag, the new Fiat 500 will be available in a range of 12 body colours, (eight pastel, three metallic, plus the exclusive pearl-effect Funk White), many of which have been inspired by the original shades of the first 500.Published 19 January 2008